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Determining the temperature growing range of palm species

Mauna Kea Cloudforest

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I'd like to start a meaty scientific discussion on what is the optimal temperature growing range for specific palms, and how to visualize that data in a useful manner that includes the photoperiod. This is not a topic for ADD Facebook style fly-by reading. You have to dive into this topic if you're interested in it.

I've been playing around with a colored spreadsheet to visualize the temperature range. If you look at the chart below, you can look at the growing range, and then take a 10-15F photoperiod for ideal growth and determine if a palm is well suited to grow in your climate.

For example, beccariophoenix alfredii has an optimal growing range between 60F and 100F, but still keeps actively growing. It starts getting stressed above 100F and below 32F, but it doesn't really start getting critically injured until temps hit around 25F. On the other hand , fenestralis is completely stagnant until temps go above 70F, and it doesn't really start growing optimally until temps reach above 80F. Note: the chart is a work in progress and is based on limited, mostly anecdotal data. Feel free to challenge it. I will post the complete spreadsheet if there is interest.

Here is the color legend:

Dark green: Optimal growth

light green: medium growth

gray: Stagnant, almost no growth

orange: stressed: lots of hours at this temp will cause palm to decline or get injured

red: critical, leads to rapid decline and death


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There's a lot of work in what you've done there. I found that Cocos nucifera is dynamite between 80-90F. I think it's still optimal at that heat range. I also think that it should be grey for C nucifera between 60-70F. 68F is basically the cut off temp for any growth at all with it. I wonder where Beccariophoenix madagascariensis would lie on your chart. Where would you put R sapida and R bauerii?

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.



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Axel, could you put temps down to 20F. for us extreme 9a ers.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Interesting list and results Axel.

Dypsis baroni is one of my best looking palms growing in a pot. Doesn’t seem to mind very cloudy winters at all.

I’ll have to try growing Hedyscepe canterburyana since it so cool tolerant I should be able to put both in the unheated greenhouse in early spring (to help acclimate to more sunlight from the cloudy winters) and out into the landscape by mid May.

Hope more palms are added to the list.


Edited by Palm crazy
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Hedyscepe should grow fine for you in a pot where you can move it indoors during periods when temperatures are below freezing. The rest of the time you can keep it outdoors. You'll have much better luck if you leave it outside the rest of the time, you'll want to keep it under canopy anyways.

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Great chart Axel - Very interesting !

Looking forward to seeing you add a few more hundred species onto it ! :mrlooney:

Old Beach ,Hobart
Tasmania ,Australia. 42 " south
Cool Maritime climate

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  • 3 weeks later...

Greetings- I am a new member to PalmTalk- but I have been around looking in shadow and reading so Ill just add observation- Im in 7b/8a Albuquerque High Desert area. I recently started a landscape project in my front yard and added black lava crusherfine.... mostly for heat but I liked the clean look as well.. I didn't know how hot it got...and it has had a significant impact on my palm growth thus far. On a sunny summer day.. this rock soars to temperatures of 145f to 178f.. and has raised my soil temp significantly to near 100f.

I added a brahea armata this year... however I don't have any other palms that you listed in your table- so this is for info only. the armata is growing quickly for a newly planted tree- has pushed a spear and another leaf growing- however the first leaf hasn't opened yet...and it is doing wonderfully with that heat... I am mainly surprised with my washingtonia filifera growth which have been in the ground for only 15 months. So here are some pics....

The first pic was taken in June 2013... the Washingtonia's were strap leaf and planted in March 2013.. and the crusherfine was added in May. I immediately noticed the heat after installation.

The second pic was taken a few days ago.



Edited by SailorBold


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